Mobile lung screening set to save lives

A new mobile lung screening unit is set to carry out up to 54 lung health checks every day, in Hull, as part of an initiative to save lives through earlier diagnosis of cancer.

Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust and Humber, Coast and Vale Cancer Alliance has launched an innovative lung cancer screening initiative in partnership with Cobalt, EMS Healthcare and Siemens Healthineers. The project will bring lung health checks into the hearts of communities across the city, as part of a national drive by NHS England. It marks the second lung screening initiative that EMS Healthcare, an innovative mobile medical unit provider, has supported NHS England on.

Launched at Hull’s iconic KCOM Stadium, Hull residents aged between 55 to 74 who have a history of smoking and attend a Hull GP practice will be offered a free NHS lung health check at a mobile facility. The latest Siemens mobile CT scanner, provided by Cobalt, is connected to EMS Healthcare’s support units, which enables the Trust to offer screenings on a flexible basis and move throughout the city; following the stadium launch, the unit will be stationed at a supermarket car park in a key area of the city.

It follows a recent report from Sir Mike Richard, which emphasised the need for flexibility of cancer screenings to enable the NHS to meet its target of saving 55,000 more people a year by 2030 through early diagnosis. The report put forward a number of recommendations to achieve this, including bringing mobile units to key community hubs – taking the clinic to the patient – and offering alternative locations for difficult-to-reach screening centres.

The initiative, hosted entirely within a mobile medical unit, is equipped with a mobile CT scanner provided by medical technology specialists Siemens Healthineers. The unit also offers private consultation rooms, a welcome area, patient toilet facilities, a staff area and is fully DDA compliant. The three-trailer unit has been fitted out with an array of specialist equipment. Clinical staff will be able to carry out crucial lung scans on visiting patients, and lung function health checks.

Throughout January and February, the unit carried out 27 lung health checks each day, with this rising to 54 checks from March onwards. Early detection of the disease will improve treatment options for patients and possible outcomes, allowing for a better level of care.

Trish Rawnsley, Programme Manager of the Awareness and Early Diagnosis Programme at the Humber, Coast and Vale Cancer Alliance said: “The Lung Health Checks carried out in this mobile unit at car parks across the city will enable us to detect lung disease including cancer at an early stage, when treatments can be much more effective. Hull has one of the UK’s highest lung cancer mortality rates, so this mobile medical unit will allow us to reach at-risk residents, and ultimately help us to significantly improve outcomes for our patients.”

 

Keith Austin, CEO of EMS Healthcare, said: “We saw from the NHS Long Term Plan that flexibility is key to engaging the community to attend vital screening appointments. Bringing mobile lung CT scanners directly to sites such as supermarket car parks could genuinely save lives through early detection. The lung screening unit will be taken to where it is needed most, in a location that is easily accessible for residents.

 

“This collaboration demonstrates the value in working with other medical unit providers to benefit communities. It’s been a pleasure to work alongside Cobalt, the Humber, Coast and Vale Cancer Alliance, and Siemens Healthineers, and we are incredibly proud to have played a part in our second lung screening initiative in partnership with NHS England.”

 

Peter Sharpe, Chief Executive of Cobalt said: “It’s an honour to have delivered a potentially life-saving project such as this. The brief from the Trust and Alliance team emphasised the need to provide flexibility in screening appointments, and collaborating with EMS Healthcare and Siemens Healthineers has enabled us to bring cutting-edge screening equipment to accessible community spots. This project will make a real difference to at-risk residents and the wider Hull community.”